Chicago 108 (23–22) | New Orleans 106 (25–21)
We'll make this one short and sweet.
Despite getting outrun up and down the court and outplayed for most of the first three quarters, the Hornets made a hell of a push in the fourth and forced overtime and almost took the W.
In fact, the Bees had the game in hand on what should have been the last possession of the game. With the Hornets up by 2 and 10 seconds to play, DX pulled down a board and launched the ball down the court to CP to try avoid a foul by the Bulls for as long as possible. Unfortunately the ball was overthrown and CP had to try and bounce it off a Bull as he flew out of bounds. The ball caromed off one Bull and landed in the hands of another. And I immediately thought to myself, "Overtime." Sure enough, the Bulls ran down the court and made a shot to tie it. Overtime.
Oh, and when CP flew out of bounds? Yeah, he landed on a camera man and re-aggravated a knee injury from Wednesday's game against the Warriors.
But, instead of carrying their momentum into overtime, the Bees went stale and managed to not hit any shots between 4:16 and 1:15. Yeah, you read that right. Can't win in OT if you spend more than 60% of your time not scoring.
Credit the Bulls for really pushing the pace and forcing the Bees to keep up. Deng, Rose, and Noah were especially impressive, as the Bulls hung in to take the W... darn it all.
Bullets after the jump.
Most of the team stats were pretty even (of course they were, it was a 2 point game), the exception was in the paint. The Bees were outscored 60 to 32 down low. Hard to win when you let the opponent own the lane.
Though the Hornets had trouble scoring down low, they were hitting shots left and right from downtown. For instance, in the first quarter, the Bees went 3 of 15 from inside the arc and 5 for 7 from deep. Need more help inside.
CP had a great game (at least before the injury) 18 points on 13 shots, 12 assists, 3 boards, and 2 steals.
DX was a beast. He dropped 29 points on 22 shots, pulled down 14 boards, and had 4 assists and 3 blocks.
Marcus Thornton continues to thrive in his starting role. 20 points on 12 shots, 5 for 8 from deep, 5 boards, and 1 steal in 40 minutes. I love how aggressive he is. He fears no one. Oh, and he's got a wicked quick shot. Someone else pointed this out recently (maybe on this blog, maybe somewhere), but his shot is so quick, he needs minimal separation to get a shot off.
Darren Collison looked lost all night. One of my buddies pointed out that he really has no half court game at all. His play has been really haphazard. Case and point: on the final play of the game (Hornets down 2, with 8 seconds to play), he drove the ball down the court, didn't pass, got stripped of the ball, and then hung his head as time expired. Rookie mistake, I suppose.
Bower only played 8 guys tonight. Not a terrible decision (with Posey injured and AG not quite having adapted... or something), but playing a 53 minute game with 8 guys on the first night of a back-to-back (when your second game is a way more important one against a divisional opponent) seems strange. And now that CP may have limited playing time (or none at all), we're really putting a strain on the rest of the guys.
Enjoy the game tonight.
Opponent's Take: Blog a Bull
Bulls vs Hornets boxscore